— UPDATED: 6/03/21 10:58am
Read time: 2 minutes

Stanford Law Withholds Diploma After Student Satire Triggers Federalist Society

A law student’s diploma was held up after an officer at the conservative Federalist Society had a tantrum over a piece of satire sent to a listserv for political debate.
Stanford Law Withholds Diploma After Student Satire Triggers Federalist Society
Satiric flyer Image from: Twitter screenshot

A law student’s diploma was held up after an officer at the conservative Federalist Society had a tantrum over a piece of satire sent to a listserv for political debate.

Mark Joseph Stern explained on Slate why those self-proclaimed freedom lovers at the Federalist Society wanted to cancel the student's diploma:

On Jan. 25, Nicholas Wallace, a third-year student at Stanford Law School, sent a satirical flyer to a student listserv reserved for debate and political commentary. The flyer promoted a fake event, “The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection,” ostensibly sponsored by the Stanford Federalist Society. It advertised the participation of two politicians who tried to overturn the 2020 election, Missouri Sen. Joshua Hawley and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Violent insurrection, also known as doing a coup, is a classical system of installing a government,” the flyer read, adding that insurrection “can be an effective approach to upholding the principle of limited government.”

Wallace’s email was designed to mock the Stanford Federalist Society for refusing to disavow the many Federalist Society luminaries who fomented the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including Hawley and Paxton. It worked: The flyer went viral, prompting USA Today to confirm that it was, indeed, satire.

The Federalist Society boasts about its devotion to freedom on its web site but, apparently, that does not extend to the freedom to mock them. One of the Stanford group’s officers filed a complaint against Wallace claiming that his satire defamed and harmed the group as well as the reputations of individual officers. That same “freedom lover” pushed for an investigation, which has now caused Wallace’s diploma to be withheld. Wallace will be unable to take the Michigan bar exam, as he had planned, until he receives his diploma.

You probably will not be shocked to know the Federalist Society’s tantrum looks more retaliatory than principled. Stern wrote, “In March, Wallace helped to plan a virtual event at which I spoke about the Federalist Society’s many links to the insurrection.” The complaint was filed after that, two months Wallace sent his flyer.

In other words, Wallace struck a nerve. Instead of defending their group, the Federalist Society successfully bullied Stanford into punishing Wallace for daring to believe he had the right of free speech. lol

UPDATE: Stanford has reconsidered the hold.

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